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Euro 2020 quarter-finals: European football experts discuss the ties

Dates: 11 June-11 July. Venues: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville, St Petersburg. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

We are down to the quarter-final stage.

Just three games stand between one of the eight teams and lifting the European Championship trophy next Sunday, but how will the last eight pan out?

BBC Radio 5 Live’s panel of European experts discuss an intriguing set of matches.

‘Switzerland will miss Xhaka’s voice’

Switzerland v Spain – Friday 17:00 BST, St Petersburg

Switzerland shocked world champions and favourites France in the last 16 on penalties and face three-time winners Spain, who have scored five goals in each of their past two games.

Guillem Balague: “So far, everything that boss Luis Enrique has tried in the Euros has worked.

“The midfield of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets – with his leadership – alongside club team-mate Pedri and Atletico Madrid’s Koke is perfect for how Spain play. He trusts Juventus striker Alvaro Morata and he is converting it into goals.”

Switzerland’s progress came with a huge blow because they will be without inspirational captain Granit Xhaka, who is suspended after collecting a second yellow card of the competition against France.

Former Switzerland defender Johan Djourou believes it is a blow they can overcome: “We have seen that even when Xherdan Shaqiri is not at his best, someone like fellow forward Mario Gavranovic can come in and do the job.

“I know we will miss Xhaka’s voice because he brings the team together but you have Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria who comes in and he is a great prospect with physical impact like Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. He has the drive like former France international Patrick Vieira.”

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Nielsen’s Gracenote: “Spain are favourites to progress to the semi-finals from this match and are given a 60% chance of doing so by Gracenote’s Euro 2020 forecasting model.”

‘It might be too early for Italy’

Belgium v Italy – Friday 20:00 BST, Munich

The pick of the quarter-finals? A match worthy of being the final.

World number one side Belgium ousted defending champions Portugal to set up a tie against in-form Italy.

Italy beat Austria in extra time and go into the game on the back of a national team record of 12 wins in a row and are unbeaten in 31 games since they lost to Portugal in September 2018.

Roberto Martinez comes up against Roberto Mancini for the first time since the 2013 FA Cup final, when his Wigan side stunned Manchester City to lift the trophy at Wembley.

Kristof Terreur: “Belgium always go back to the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat against France in Russia. They are now open to doing it another way now. We have gone more business-wise, less expansive and less attacking because we have our issues with the defence. Martinez has adapted and there are players with experience. If we are winning ugly, we are winning ugly.”

Julien Laurens: “If you can reproduce with the national team the spirit and style of a club, that is when you will go far. In three years, for Mancini to do what he has done with a young squad, it is impressive. It might be too early for them. But they can potentially win the World Cup next year.”

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Nielsen’s Gracenote: “Belgium are estimated to have around a 60% chance of progressing to the Euro 2020 semi-final according to the Gracenote forecasting model.”

Denmark’s is a ‘fantastic story’

Czech Republic v Denmark – Saturday 17:00 BST, Baku

Denmark players saw their team-mate Christian Eriksen collapse on the pitch in their opening-game defeat by Finland in Copenhagen and followed it up with another loss to Belgium.

But victory over Russia and a thrashing of Wales has seen them reach the quarter-finals on a wave of emotion.

Laurens: “How can you not support Denmark after everything that has happened? The football has been amazing too, so entertaining.

“Manager Kasper Hjulmand has been doing great work with his team – the way they press, counter-press and their movement on and off the ball. Sampdoria winger Mikkel Damsgaard has been a revelation.

“It is a fantastic story and we don’t know where it will end. On paper they start as favourites.”

Denmark will face the Czech Republic, who came third in Group D behind England and Croatia, and have Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick, who has scored four goals so far in the tournament.

Honigstein: “Schick has been inconsistent generally. Maybe he needs to play in a team where he is the focal point, leads the line and even when he has a bad game, he is not going to be substituted.

“There are players like that who need the confidence and belief of their team-mates and coach. He seems to have that at this Euros. Whether that is enough I am not so sure. The Czechs are the weakest team left in the competition.”

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Nielsen’s Gracenote: “Denmark are the favourites in this fixture, with Gracenote estimating a 60% chance of the Danes progressing to the semi-finals. This means however that the Czechs are not such big underdogs as they were for last weekend’s game against the Dutch.”

‘You cannot begrudge likeable England success’

Ukraine v England – Saturday 20:00 BST, Rome

England banished the demons of old by beating rivals Germany in the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time since the 1966 World Cup final.

Gareth Southgate’s side move away from Wembley for the first time with a trip to Rome on Saturday, coming up against a Ukraine side who edged past Sweden late in extra time.

Laurens: “Ukraine had their best game of the tournament against Sweden. Boss Andriy Shevchenko played a back five for the first time, which helped Manchester City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko be more effective.

“They will be prepared to give the ball to England so let’s see what they do with it. Ukraine will play with a low block, compact with lots of players defending. In these kind of games you have to do more with the ball than England did against Germany. You have to create more and it will be a very different game to the Germany one.”

Honigstein: “This might not be the most exciting England side or one that wins the hearts of the neutrals with their football, but the players and manager are so likeable. You cannot begrudge them the success, you cannot help but root for them.”

Balague: “You look at the papers and the coverage in England, you see talk of the final, when you are still in the quarter-finals. Does any other country do this? It is only England. That is a lack of respect for Ukraine.”

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Nielsen’s Gracenote: “England have around a 70% chance of winning this quarter-final tie against Ukraine according to Gracenote’s forecast. If Ukraine were to pull off a surprise win, it would be in the top five knockout-phase shocks of all time in the competition. This list is already headed by an England match, the 2-1 second round defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016.”

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